Does that embrace you? Well, chances are, if you are flying from Suriname to Netherlands, you might be asked to do that, during your immigration check-in at the Schipol airport.
Suriname is located on the northern part of South America, a former Dutch colony and, probably, one of the only country in that region, which has a direct non-stop flight to Amsterdam. The costs of the tickets are one of the most expensive in the world, during peak season time, when calculate on an average of per flying hours, with costs of tickets to other travel destinations.
So the question is, why is it that, an individual maybe asked to take their pants off and, why is the cost of ticket so expensive! Tricky? Probably not, or maybe yes! It so happens that, it is believed that, Suriname traffics the largest supplies of drugs, thought humans to Europe via Amsterdam. Individuals, take the risk of their lives, by swallowing tabs of cocaine and then carry these to Amsterdam. It is believed that, cocaine is wrapped into thin plastic bags, or even condoms and, these are swallowed by people, who then risk their lives to carry it to Amsterdam. During the 9 hr flight, they neither eat or drink anything, since that might result into a situation, where they might have to go to the WC and might flush off the tabs they had swallowed.
If you have a face, unlucky to impress the immigration, you could have the time of your life, answering their questions and the worst is, when they actually put in their fingers right into your anus to feel any suspicious items inside, (no please don't laugh because it actually happens, although am lucky to have traveled that route a few times, but didn't have to undergo that serious check). Or, at times, the immigration even may ask you to have some medicine, which will make you rush to the WC to potty, this way, they can check if you have swallowed any of those cocaine tabs. Long ago, a 6 month pregnant woman was forced to have such a medicine, in spite of her resisting and, mentioning about her pregnancy. To her bad luck, the medicine not only gave her a continues potty but even resulted into aborting her baby! It is believed that, she did file a case against this act, however, the judge overruled her case and, she was given €250 as compensation.
Travelers flying that route complain the harsh treatment they get from the immigration & customs at Schipol. While the immigration & customs at Amsterdam, Schipol airport, debate saying that have no other option, but to come up with more and more stricter ways to check on people and stop them from carrying drugs into their country. History has it that, not only struggling un-employed individuals, both men and women traffic drugs but also the airline staff was involved, including delegates from some top corporate sectors of the country.
Some cases which are talked about are those of a pilot, who now actually begs around the streets of Suriname. He was caught redhanded carrying a bag full of drugs to Amsterdam. Having caught and sentenced for 2 or 3 years in the jail, not only took off his job, but also his status in the society. So if you happen to be traveling to Suriname, and come across a beggar, thin, tall and dark, who fluently speaks 5 languages, you know who he is. Long ago it is believed that, Pilots and or other flight attendants were easy way out to traffic drugs. But now since this idea is no longer new, the traffickers try other newer ways.
Another popular case is that of a grand mother, traveling with her grand child, who was continue-sly sleeping during that non-stop 9 hour flight from Suriname to Amsterdam. Probably one of the flight attendant found that too suspicious and reported this to the immigration, who upon checking found out that, the baby was long dead and the inner parts of the baby was removed and replaced with cocaine. A fantastic idea to traffic drugs but, failed to achieve the goal.
Probably one of the most exciting was, about a motor boat engine repairing company in Suriname. Almost all the boats in Suriname, are traded off from the US. Simple repairs of the engines of the boats are made in Suriname, while, complicated ones are sent to be repaired in Miami. In one such case, a particular engine was sent to Miami for repairs and after about 1 month or so, it returned back to Suriname. However, probably the person doing all this, didn't have any clue that, each engine which enters the US, for repairs or for any other matter is listed. He might have mistaken to send the engine for the third time, in a span of 6 months and thats when the drug enforcement in the US were suspicious and upon checking the engine found out that, it was actually full of cocaine. Add to that, the department disguised themselves and, sent an invitation to the company's owner, asking him to come to the US, as an apology for having misplaced the engine in the huge dockyard and wanted him to identify the engine. A ticket was sent together with hotel bookings etc. and this guy actually went too! Only to land in the airport and get caught redhanded and eventually, sentenced to prison in the US for trafficking drugs to the US.
There are many other equally exciting stories which compels us to think, what makes it so tempting to risk ones' life to traffic drugs from South America to Europe. Its because, experts believe that, 1 kg of cocaine costs around €1000 in South America, while once it reaches the hands of the dealers in Europe, the price goes up to around €25,000 or even more, depending upon the quality of cocaine, its demand and supply and based on the distribution network. WOW, isn't that amazing! I mean, when talking about demand and supply and distribution network! Well, its an absolute fact. Well, its a fact. Europe has a demand for drugs. And please mark my words, I mentioned Europe not just the name of one country, the whole union itself. And all this supply is made from South America, not to mention the origin being Columbia.
So why do the authorities for e.g. the immigration and customs or the drugs enforcement of the Netherlands, not use scanners or other such devices to check on the passengers and leave the innocent away from such harassment, of having to undergo a moment when fingers are put into their anus and or even asked to have the medicine to potty? Or, why don't they work together with the airlines and train the flight attendants to make a note of people who do not eat or drink during that 9 hr. non-stop flight from Suriname to Amsterdam, in order to have an edge to actually catch the traffickers and once again, spare the innocent from all the embracement and harassment? Or, why don't the authorities research on better ways to target the traffickers and spare the innocent?
There is no answer to that! Because, the authorities say that, as per their records, not only men have been the key to traffic drugs, but women, both young and old, delegates of corporate, airline staff and the like have in the past being involved into this drug trafficking business.
I have traveled that route around 4 times, and each time I was asked several questions, as to why I am traveling that route, what is my profession etc. and having an Indian passport with visa of more than 10 countries and stamps all over, probably makes it even more suspicious I guess! But, lucky me, I have never had to go through a moment where a finger was pushed into my anus ... I did try doing it myself at home once, just to get a feeling ... it was a little exciting though, but I am sure, it won't be exciting at all, if it was being done by someone else, and that too, in front of others in uniform, with dogs and guns and security cameras around!
Contributed by: Mohinder Pal Singh
Date: April 19, 2010